Success Stories

Our partners have achieved great successes in public health. We recognize their hard work and leadership in creating healthier communities. We hope these stories inspire your work around place-based public health.

  • Map of retailers near schools
  • Map of tobacco retailers

This  success story serves as a great example of a local area passing strong tobacco prevention policies. Counter Tools has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) since 2012 to help support local areas in the state in their pursuit of policy change around tobacco. In 2019, the city of Golden Valley in Hennepin County, Minnesota passed a number of comprehensive tobacco prevention policies, including raising the minimum legal sales age to 21, banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, increasing tobacco product pricing, capping the number of tobacco retailer licenses issued, and more. In 2020, they passed additional regulations to restrict the location of tobacco retailers and their proximity to youth-oriented facilities. The use of local data, education efforts, and strong political and community support helped pass these policies.

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Gainesville Florida

Counter Tools has partnered with Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco-Free Florida since 2013 to survey the retail environment and spread awareness around healthy retail, and in more recent years the work has shifted focus to passing policies. In January 2019, Alachua County implemented a local tobacco retailer licensing policy, raised the minimum legal sales age for tobacco to 21, and required any new tobacco retailers to be located at least 1000ft away from schools.

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  • Reality Check protesters
  • Holding Marlboro sign
  • Group photo at protest

Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders and fight against the tobacco industry through grassroots mobilization and education. Counter Tools has partnered with Reality Check since 2015 and conducts training sessions to educate youth on tobacco and advocacy work through rallying at the annual Altria shareholder’s meeting.

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  • Virginia photo by Stephen Poore on Unsplash
  • Counter Act displayed in Rite Aid
  • Retailer density Chesterfield CSB

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and Counter Tools entered into a project in 2015 to create an accurate state-wide tobacco retailer list, utilizing data integration and ground truthing work. Deepening local understanding of the effect of the tobacco retailer environment on health enabled Virginia to develop a statewide infrastructure for tobacco use prevention and control.

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Our Partners

Partners map numbered

Map markers

  1. ChangeLab Solutions
  2. Public Health Law Center
  3. American Lung Association
  4. CDC Office on Smoking and Health
  5. University of North Carolina
  6. University of Virginia
  7. Reality Check
  8. CADCA Geographic Health Equity Alliance
  9. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
  10. National Association of County & City Health Officials
  11. Truth Initiative

What Our Partners Say

“I can’t say enough how much I appreciate and value our partnership. We couldn’t be happier with the expertise, the TA, the software, everything. With your help, we have completely reinvented our Synar program and become one of the leaders across the state.”

Colleen Hughes, Prevention Specialist, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Development Services

“Counter Tools has been a great partner and assists in implementing a statewide POS effort. We value their expertise and contributions to our team.”

Cassandra, Minnesota Department of Health

“Counter Tools brings the expertise and education our youth need… The broader, deeper learning experience they provide gets our young people thinking Big Picture–about how they can get out and contribute to their local community AND change the world.”

Jonathan Chaffee, Reality Check

“They are thorough, responsive, and professional. Counter Tools staff is reliable and timely.”

Ian, South Carolina Tobacco Free Collaborative

In The News

ABC17 Logo

January 22, 2020 | ABC17 KMIZ

The Columbia City Council of Missouri voted to take part in a pilot program to gather data on tobacco retailers in the city. This program, run by Counter Tools and Truth Initiative, aims to identify which retailers are selling tobacco and nicotine products within the community and if they are licensed, with the goal of informing future public health initiatives.

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Health Promotion Practice logo

January 7, 2020 | Health Promotion Practice, SAGE Journals

The Department of Public Health Education at UNC Greensboro conducted analyses of tobacco ads at local retail stores. Using Counter Tools software they identified a sample of stores in communities of high African American population. They found that ads in these communities “disproportionately employ misdirection messaging strategies that prey upon and may thus exacerbate existing vulnerabilities.”

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Truth Initiative report

December 11, 2019 |  Truth Initiative

Counter Tools partnered with Truth Initiative® on a pilot study using store assessment questions that focused on the sale of flavored tobacco products.

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CDC logo

June 25, 2019 | CDC Office on Smoking and Health

The Indiana State Department of Health’s tobacco control program was featured in Programs in Action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health. Counter Tools helped train community organizations to study tobacco product availability and advertising in stores.

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Innovate Carolina logo

June 3, 2019 | Innovate Carolina

Counter Tools was featured in Innovate Carolina’s weekly newsletter, IN the Know, and gives an overview of the background of Counter Tools, our work, and partner successes. IN the Know shares interesting and inspiring news and updates about innovative and entrepreneurial activity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is where Counter Tools was founded.

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Partner News

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